Iraqi Guerillas Killed Another Three Us

*Iraqi guerillas killed another three US soldiers near Mosul on Thursday in an ambush on an armored convoy. This brings to five the number killed in the past two days in that area, in the wake of the deaths of Qusay and Uday. It seems likely that Baath loyalists have redoubled their efforts, either seeking revenge or seeking to bolster their own morale.

*Cabinet ministers of the new Iraqi transitional government will be appointed within two weeks, according to Interim Governing Council member Muhammad Bahr al-`Ulum. Some ministries may be reconfigured, and some from the Baath era may be abolished. US civil administrator Paul Bremer also pledged that electricity would be completely restored and a new army would be in the process of formation within two months. (Note that Iraq can only produce 2/3s of the electricity it needs without the building of more electrical plants; this is a heritage of the neglect of infrastructure by Saddam).

*Meanwhile, Adnan Pachachi (another prominent IGC member) says that Iraq will recover its sovereignty within 12 to 18 months, according to Asharq al-Awsat. This was at a press conference of 3 IGC members in London, with UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw. Aqila al-Hashimi, another member, confirmed that all the IGC appointees agreed that the most urgent consideration was an early end to foreign occupation. I saw Christopher Hitchens on television objecting to calling it an occupation, and I know US military personnel in Iraq don’t like the word. I agree that it is more complicated than a simple occupation. But if that is what the IGC is calling it, and they are the major Iraqi politicians actively cooperating with the British and Americans, then imagine what ordinary Iraqis are calling it. I think the sense of urgency in transitioning to a new Iraqi government felt by the IGC should be taken very seriously. It doesn’t seem to me that the US and Britain have very much time to make the transition. Apparently the IGC fear a social explosion if the process is too long and drawn out.